Hour Timebank is a system to system to support exchanges and friendship in the local community. Timebanking has been introduced to many countries all over the world and is recognised as a very successful model to build community resilience and social capital.

Our group are working to introduce Timebanking into Ireland. hOur Timebank CLG has been a registered charity in Ireland since April 2018. It has established a not for profit CLG.

Core values of Timebanking include:

Sharing: The more people share their time and skills, the healthier and happier your neighbourhood will become. With Timebanking, everyday acts of kindness are recognised as the important contribution they are to everyone’s wellbeing.

We all have something to give: The real wealth of a society is its people. Every human being can be a contributor, no matter who they are and what their experience in life has been.

Redefining Work: Work has to be redefined to value what it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighbourhoods, make communities work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honoured, recorded and rewarded.

Reciprocity: Helping works better as a two-way street. The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we both will live in?”

Social Networks: We need each other. Networks are stronger than individuals. People help each other re-weave communities of support, strength and trust. Community is built upon growing roots, building trust and creating networks.

Respect: Every human being matters. Respect underlies everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of community. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be in the future.

Lift Sharing Model-Introduction – explanation
Lift-Sharing (from Cork County Council Website)
Lift-Sharing: Save Your Wallet and the Planet

Lift-Sharing, also known as car-pooling, car-sharing or ride-sharing – not to be confused with car-sharing clubs (see our related webpage) involves two or more people sharing a lift. One of the people travelling is usually the owner of the vehicle and the other(s) usually make a contribution towards fuel costs.
You can share a car for any journey – be it to and from work, taking the children to school, visiting friends, on a shopping trip or travel to any other event or leisure activities. It can take place either as a regular occurrence or just a one-off journey.
Lift-sharing simply aims to reduce pollution and expenses and by reducing car usage. To make it snappy: save your money as well as the planet!

Benefits of Lift-Sharing

The numerous benefits of lift-sharing for individuals and employees are the following:

• Cost savings: divide fuel cost and parking charges equally between driver and passenger(s), making the trip cheaper for everyone
• Relieving traffic jams: Stuck in traffic? Lift-Sharing is one means of vastly reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles commuting everyday
• Greener trips: less private vehicles on the road means less car emissions, noise, fossil energy consumption, pressures on the environment… with the result of a better quality of life
• Low-car lifestyle: for urban dwellers who don’t drive everyday lift-sharing help them to live without owning a private car
• Sense of community and well-being: lift-sharing can help people get to know neighbours and/or colleagues better
• Less car parking spaces: employers can make significant reductions in parking provision, often resulting in cost savings for the company

The above section is taken from Cork County Council web-site
Timebanking is the ideal model to support the delivery of a car sharing project in Ireland.
The concept involves a systematic approach to exchange involving the checks and balances necessary to ensure all parties are safe and protected in their positive endeavours.

Lift Sharing has been an important dimension of Timebanking in the UK and USA for many years.
However with unique transport legislation in Ireland, the concept has not taken off to date.
We believe hOur TimeBank can provide the solutions and the impetus to drive the concept of life sharing in Ireland.

Benefits of Timebank model

Security check – safety
All members of the Timebank are required to complete an application form and provide a reference. Members are required to complete an on-line induction training course to ensure their understanding of the Timebanking model. For certain activities – including car-sharing – members will be required to complete a Garda check in their registration. (this requirement will also be necessary to activate other activities on the time-bank involving vulnerable adults or children)
Similarly if members wish to avail of the car-sharing process an additional confirmation of driving licence and proof of notification to their insurance and a document indemnifying Timebank will be required.

Formal Process – recorded and valued: –

The benefits of using the Timebank model are multifold: –
The activity is recorded and therefore recognised. Lift providers can benefit from additional favours in exchange of their good gesture.
The activity is safe – procedures and policies are in place to ensure all parties to the exchange are safe.
Beneficiaries of the service will be required to provide “time” to the community in exchange for the favour they have received.
A mechanism will be designed for the exchange of a token towards fuel charges on the journey as part of the roll-out.
Significant enhancement of relationships and social capital – resulting in a variety of positive community benefits.
The Timebank model has been used in multiple jurisdictions globally with learning and experience from these models contributing to and informing the development of the model in Ireland.

Many Timebanks have developed a model whereby time credits can be used to avail of services such as cinema, yoga or sports participation and many other activities as part of a community commitment or corporate social responsibility model. In this model the time earned has real currency.

Legal Framework
Permissions for sharing of cost
The National Transport Authority confirmed the following: –

Ireland has enacted very recent legislation related to the licensing and operation of small public service vehicles. The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 was only commenced in April of 2014, and the consolidated subsidiary regulations came into force also at that time, with a small update largely related to maximum fares made earlier this year.

Within that modern regulatory framework, the core requirement, with a small number of limited exemptions, is that the carriage of passengers for reward in a public place in any mechanically propelled vehicle with nine or fewer seats (including the driver’s seat) is permitted only in a licensed vehicle driven by a licensed driver. In both cases, “licensed” means a licence issued under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013.

There are only a limited number of exceptions to this core requirement. They are set out in the legislation and are:

1.An approved community transport service operated on a without-profit basis by a body which has received a charitable tax exemption granted by the Revenue Commissioners, and where the vehicles are driven by approved volunteer drivers;
2.Own chauffeur services, where the driver is employed directly by the passenger who must own the vehicle;
3.Non-commercial car sharing services where the driver “receives no reward for his or her services, other than payment to him or her of an amount not exceeding the reasonable cost of the fuel consumed in providing such service” and where “no payment is made to, or charges are levied by, the person operating the service in respect of the provision of the service.”

Point 3 in the above legislation was confirmed as the legal underpinning for the Lift Sharing Moxdel envisaged under TimeBank.

Lift providers will be required to inform their insurers of their participation in the scheme. Proof of this informing is required.
A similar insurance informing procedure for voluntary driving project such as Cancer Connect does not result in any additional premium –

Next Steps

Development of technology –

The existing Timebank website can be used for the initial roll-out of the lift sharing model – however in time it will be more efficient if a dedicated mobile phone app was developed with dereferencing in real-time to Promotion of service – Rolled out through Local Links nationwide.

The Timebank model is designed to act independently with participants contacting one another to make arrangements and work things out without the need for an intermediary. Yet the model is designed to ensure that the data on lifts is recorded and monitored as this is the mechanism through which time credits can be traded and exchanged.

This model will be very efficient.
However to establish the model in an area and support its initial roll-out – including compliance with the necessary checks and balances and to assist with the initial induction into the programme in a local area – the Timebank will need administrative support. This is where the Local Link network could assist with the roll-out of the initial phase of the lift-sharing Timebank in each area.